Towson software firm is being acquired

The Baltimore Sun

Towson-based ViPS, a health software company and unit of HLTH Corp., will be sold to General Dynamics Information Technology Inc. for $225 million in cash, HLTH Corp. said yesterday.

ViPS, which employs 600 people, will remain at its headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Towson and is not expected to face job layoffs, said Mark Meudt, a spokesman for the buyer, which is a subsidiary of Falls Church, Va.-based defense company General Dynamics Corp.

"At this point we don't anticipate any significant changes," Meudt said yesterday.

He said the acquisition will be a good fit, because General Dynamics has an established health information technology and professional services business, and "this is part of growing that business."

ViPS acts as a contractor to customers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, other large health plans, managed care organizations and federal agencies, providing services such as assistance on retiree drug benefits, drug data processing, data warehousing and fraud protection.

HLTH executives were not available for comment yesterday.

The sale is one condition of a previously announced merger between HLTH and WebMD. HLTH now owns 84 percent of WebMD Health Corp., an online health information company. The merger also must be reviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and be approved by stockholders of both HLTH and WebMD.

Before becoming a unit of HLTH, the New Jersey-based WebMD in 2004 had acquired ViPS for $160 million.

At the time, ViPS had nearly 400 employees.

ViPS was founded in Towson in 1979 as Viable Information Processing Systems.

Its first product, the ViPS Medicare System, was used to process Medicare payments.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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